Now we’re going to see how uploading works on this puppy!

Why are these guys smiling? I’m not == uploading doesn’t work!
This was an utterly insane week, with Mesaba Discovery and Discovery issues flying and the Mesaba siting permit on the agenda of the PUC.

1) Order for Citizens Advisory Task Force

Thursday was the PUC meeting to accept the Mesaba siting application (siting of plant, transmission and natural gas) and decide whether they want to appoint a Citizens Advisory Task Force. Commerce staff had their opinion, found in Staff Briefing Papers — that there should NOT be a Citizens Advisory Task Force, and instead only be a “work group” of local government officials. SAY WHAT??? Read those Briefing Papers, it’s enough to make you puke… but remember, Commerce does not have the same charge as EQB, and the EQB was the one that utilized the statutorily authorized Citizens Advisory Task Force (CATF). As “Commerce” said, “we’re not bound by history.” As one representing the folks on the ground in these projects over the last decade, decade plus, color me outraged. OK, fine, that’s how you want to play it, I’m ready. Here’s my response to that attitude, a request for a CATF, because the statute says that when they get a request, they have to address it at the next meeting. Obviously, with their attitude, Commerce will just ignore that, so before they had time to talk their way around my request, they were flooded with 23 more!

Let’s see… we had mine to start, and I’ve been involved with three projects with four CATF’s; others from projects with CATFs who wrote were Shellene Johnson, former President of CRVC (Chisago Project), John Nauerth III who was on two CATFs in association with the SW MN 345kV line, Linda Hanson/WOLF, Intervenor in Arrowhead MN and WI; Julie Risser, candidate for SD 41 in Edina; Clean Water Action Alliance by Erin Jordahl-Redlin on behalf of its 60,000 members, Sierra Club Northstar Chapter by Christoopher Childs; Ross Hammond, P.E., formerly of Xcel (ran the Riverside coal plant!) and NRG and who is now an ME3 Board Member; Harold Dziuk, DVM, Ph.D., who was a member of the PUC’s Science Advisors regarding ground currents; and locals on the ground including Earl Orf, Ron Gustafson, Charlotte Neigh, Esq., Jane Latimer, Andrew David, Linda Castagneri, Kurt Christopherson, Brad Jones, Darrell and Dee White, David and Carmen Griggs, Doug and Barbara Veit, Thomas Nelson and Sanna Pederson, and last but certainly not least, Bob and Leeann Norgord.

Yes, the PUC got the message allright, and Ordered a Citizens Advisory Task Force. But what was very disturbing was the Commerce attitude that there were plenty of opportunities to participate, there were all these public meetings and there would be even more. What a load of crap (which barely begins to express my disgust)! There has been exactly one public meeting in the past year since the West Site was revealed as Excelsior’s preferred site. That was the DOE meeting for the DOE’s EIS. Check out the transcript for a sense of the public outrage about this “West Site.” Nothing from the state, no public meeting at all yet, and 8/22 is the Siting informational meeting. In the PPA docket, they hadn’t anticipated doing meetings up north (EH?) and the latest is the ALJ thinks that the public should not be able to cross-examine witnesses up there. EH???? So anyway, we got an Order for a Citizens Advisory Task Force.

2) Order for access to Trade Secret Information

And now back to the Mesaba PPA docket, where we’ve been having a pissing contest over access to cost information in a PPA docket — a Power Purchase Agreement is about nothing but cost — but the ALJ said pre-emptively and prematurely and without specific determinations, that was not entitled to cost information. Really! Here’s from the memorandum:

Parties that are not a utility or a power producer will usually not need access to the detailed cost and technical data. Sometimes they are not in a position to make helpful comment about it. But they may be. So separate treatment is reasonable…

And the separate treatment we got was a paragraph that was NOT in the Protective Order drafts we discussed at the PUC Hearing, those were just fine, this is patently offensive:

(F) Non-utility or non-power producer Parties shall not have access to Trade Secret Information absent a showing that the interest they seek to protect reasonably requires it.

So, what, we guess what might be there and try to prove we need something when we don’t know what it is? Right…

We got support from the Xcel Industrial Intervenors (Geraud Ameristeel and Marathon Oil) in their brief. …sigh… how to upload a pdf? grrrrrrrrrrrr

And the PUC site is screwed up and the OAH site doesn’t list anything, WTF? So I guess that won’t get posted…

Anyway, we got the Order in the afternoon, after the PUC hearing on the siting side of the project, and it said:

(3) However, pursuant to subparagraph 1(c)(ii)(F) of the Protective Order, MCGP has shown that the interest MCGP seeks to protect in thos proceeding reasonably requires access to Trade Secret Information, as defined in the Protective Order; and (4) MCGP is therefore GRANTED access to Trade Secret Information, as defined in the Protective Order.

3) PUC issues notice of Comment Period — Just a day after the meeting, an email goes out to the service list on the PPA docket that they’re taking Comments on Cost issues. GOOD!

NOTICE OF COMMENT PERIOD ON WHETHER THE COMMISSION SHOULD SPECIFY ADDITIONAL ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED At its July 6, 2006 agenda meeting, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (Commission) considered the acceptance of Excelsior Energy Inc.â??s (Excelsior) Combined Application for a Site Permit, Transmission Line Route Permit, and Natural Gas Pipeline Permit for its Mesaba Energy Project in Docket No. E-6472/GS-06-668. In the course of discussions on the 06-668 docket, issues were raised that may be more directly addressed in Docket No. E-6472/M-05-1993 (05-1993 Docket) which the Commission has already referred for contested case hearing. The Commission directed its staff to bring these issues back before the Commission at a future agenda meeting in the 05-1993 Docket. Written comments will be accepted on whether the Commission should supplement its April 26, 2006 Notice and Order for Hearing and Order Granting Intervention Petition in the 05-1993 Docket to request that parties specifically address:-the costs of transmission upgrades and related facilities beyond the substation associated with the Mesaba Energy Project; and-the costs of other infrastructure investments associated with the Mesaba Energy Project.Parties wishing to comment shall do so by 4:30 p.m. on July 18, 2006 This matter is tentatively scheduled to be heard at the Commissionâ??s July 27, 2006 agenda meeting.Questions regarding this matter may be directed to Janet Gonzalez at 651-201-2231.

One Response to “Incremental wins at the PUC on Mesaba”

  1. ED ANDERSON Says:

    Note the new email address. Wondered why the CATF didn’t have my letter in it? I know of at least two or three others also. Send a comment back and you could be the first to email us high-speed.

    (Can you believe it, high speed internet and the first site I visited is this one!)

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